When I was five, my place on line was always in the middle. I was an average height kid. In Junior high and all through high school, my stature stayed a non-issue.
I recall as girls, we knew we were more mature and smarter than those awful boys. Except, of course, for whiz kid Murray Lifshitz. Murray never used a pencil; he calculated everything in his head, and it was a considerable one at that. The only thing young Lifshitz could not do was remember to raise his hand quick enough when nature called.
Adolescent females, at least in the ’40s and ’50s were smaller than boys except for my classmate Harriet Shmuckler who had the distinction of being as tall as Grisly Gaynor. Coach Gaynor could reach up and get a basketball in the hoop almost without standing on her tippy toes.
Harriet had three nipples; two on one boob and one on the other. Her popularity in the girl’s locker room was for all the wrong reasons. You had to give her credit though, because she took the teasing, laughed it off and never got upset. I know I would have.
In high school it was pretty much the same; my stature was of no consequence; it stayed gridlocked thru my teens and on into my twenty’s, thirty’s and so on. However, at my recent physical, three-quarters of an inch had run off and hid. Also when I look around at the giants shopping in the supermarket and wait in line for my coffee at the Roastery, it is obvious.
Damn it, I am short.
History tells us Jewesses are tall in countries where the women of indigenous races are tall, and vice versa, therefore in Brooklyn where women are not tall, I am average. But in California I am short—and getting shorter.
What in the world does my future hold, and is there a way to stem the tide? If I continue growing down, I could disappear entirely!
It’s obvious it must irk me on some level, because I dreamed of buying a giant red clay flower pot. Could it have been to regrow three-quarters of an inch?
Why, I ask myself, do I want to be taller when I am closer to the bouquet of my favorite Lilly of the Valley?
I can call on attractive, tall men to reach the high shelf.
It’s easier to cut slacks down than to lengthen them.
Most times, closer to the earth folks look younger.
And just so you know, I heard that Cosmo will be the first to announce: SHORT IS THE NEW TALL.
Barbra Hana Austin was born on the kitchen table above her father’s linoleum store in Brooklyn. A few minutes after graduation from high school, she married and had two brilliant kids.
Hana-Austin lives in Calistoga, CA and is looking forward to revisiting with you, the place she fondly and oft times hilariously writes about—the Brooklyn of yesterday.
PS: On the East coast, it’s “on line.” On the West coast, it’s “in line.” In the UK it’s “queue up.”